Monday, March 26, 2007

Cahors

We left Toulouse and drove up through Montauban and up to Cahors, where we stopped for lunch. I didn't take too many photos here because, in 1989, the center of town was all torn up. I think they were replacing utilities and updating the paving and all, and it was a mess.

We wanted to go to Cahors not only for its famous 14th century bridge, the Pont Valentré, but also because of the famous "black" wine of legend that's made in the region. The auxerrois, or malbec, grape produces a hearty red wine here that got Cahors its A.O.C. designation in 1971.

The city is in the Département du Lot in the valley of the river with the same name. The Lot river runs around the city in a huge loop. According to its web site, Cahors is home to 20,000 Cadurciens. It was founded at the site of a spring that the Gauls then the Romans venerated, and it still provides water to the city today.

The legendary Pont Valentré spans the Lot river at Cahors.

We drove into town across the Pont Valentré, something that I think is no longer possible. Our friend Sue went to Cahors last year and said that cars are no longer allowed on the bridge. When the bridge was under construction in the 1300's, legend has it that it was taking so long that the architect made a pact with the devil to make materials available. Apparently the devil held up his end of the bargain and the bridge quickly neared completion. Not wanting to abandon his soul to Satan, the architect challenged the devil to bring him water in a colander, which he could not do. At that point, the devil cursed the middle tower of the bridge so that it could never be finished, and each time the men tried to complete it, it collapsed.

I think this is near the town of Fumel on the Lot, west of Cahors.

During a 19th century restoration, the architect in charge had a stone carved in the shape of the devil with his fingers caught between the stones as if he were trying to pull them apart. That stone was placed on the middle tower and it has stood intact since. Quite a little legend, eh ?

An older concrete borne alongside the road. These days, they're made of plastic. I think the concrete ones did too much damage to cars that strayed off the road.

We left Cahors after lunch and headed down the Lot river valley toward the west. I remember the twisty roads and some nice scenery. We turned north again just south of Bergerac and made that our destination for dinner and the night. We went back to Cahors in 1995, but I'll leave that story for another time.

2 comments:

  1. Good wine, great views and probably great food.
    I used to like those old bournes.h

    ReplyDelete
  2. Claude, right on all counts !

    ReplyDelete

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